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Comment Re:Homeopathy is a scam (Score 1) 309

> There is the third possibility in this case: it is homeopathy, intended to be diluted, with a manufacturing defect.

If there is any active ingredient in it, it is not homeopathy, it is drugs. The FDA can then shut them down as a drugs manufacturer making stuff that has not gone through testing and approval. Homeopathy doesn't need testing and approval because there is no active ingredient in it, drugs do, because there is.

Manufacturing defect? - Homeopathy's manufacturing process is defective by design, the entire point is to remove anything that could possibly have any effect.

Comment Re:Homeopathy is a scam (Score 1) 309

It is a grandfathered legality from the days before the FDA. Homeopathic "drugs" have not been through clinical trials or been shown to be efficacious. They are based on a principle that somehow if you have a substance you can dilute it until perhaps only a couple of MOLECULES in your liquid will somehow cure your problem.

  The FDA should shut down this sham of a company once and for all.

Can't have it both ways - if the stuff is diluted so much that there is nothing there, how the f**k can it be dangerous and need to be recalled?
The reason the FDA can't shut homeopathy down is they are selling nothing but sugar pills, any effects or side effects would be the same with a placebo.

The _only_ danger in homeopathy is people stupidly not getting proper medical treatment because they are using it - will you can't regulate away every form of stupid. Note that you can, and they do, shutdown any practitioners who advise patients to not have effective medical treatment and to use snake oil instead.

There are two possibilities in this case:
1. it's _not_ homeopathy and actually has some active ingredient in it, and it's not a nice one
2. it is homeopathy and therefore it doesn't have any active ingredient in it and therefore it is _not_ dangerous (or effective)

It _cannot_ be both homeopathic and dangerous.

Comment Re:Never give a number (Score 1) 435

In the UK most employees don't file tax returns, your new employer gets (part of) the P45 form from your old employer, in order to work out your tax coding for the rest of the tax year - the information on there is enough to work out your previous salary.

Now, you don't _have_ to do this way (can use P46 I think instead) - but then your tax will be wrong, which can get expensive.

Comment Re:Engineering degrees already cost more. (Score 1) 537

I always wondered about library costs, STEM at least at the undergraduate level doesn't actually need one.

True, you can get all the research papers you need online these days, just log in with your uni id to get access. If you've ever wondered why it costs $$$ to get the same papers when you're out of university, well the STEM journal publishers give all university students free access, obviously...

Comment Re:Agile (Score 1) 332

Ever tried Agile development of a software library or of infrastructural systems? Stuff that needs to be thought out before publishing? Where experience counts? Where you don't have a team of 10 people dedicated to sprints of two weeks? Where produced software actually has to be maintained? In short, where you have a small shop that needs to make a difference.

Yes on all counts. At the same time.

I ran the dev team, already had experience of very early agile predecessors (DSDM), I was told to "do" agile with my team and went into it as a confirmed sceptic trying hard to keep an open mind, and f*** me it worked. Well. Really well. Several people (inc me) thought we couldn't do product development agile, couldn't do support and maintenance agile, couldn't support pre-sales agile, well we did, and it worked better than anything else we did in a whole lot of ways.

I have also since seen the same agile process (SCRUM) used so badly it drowned a project in treacle, it would have been hilarious if it wasn't for the amount of money you were watching being pissed up against a wall.

Agile is a tool, it is a better lathe, used properly it can produce things of great beauty and precision, but it is still just a better lathe - if you are trying to use it to drill a hole or cut a straight line you will still fail, if you leave the chuck key in you will still get hit in the nuts (if you're lucky) when you start it. Know your tools.

Comment What is truth, what is fact, and when? (Score 2) 270

One problem is that much that is disputed is also time-sensitive, what is "fact" changes over time, sometimes because more "facts" become known, sometimes because they turn out to be false. You can try and check that something was factual _when_ it was published, but on the web publications can be trivially updated.

Take this:

Lovely video on fact-checking, except that it doesn't fact-check itself, the google search shown in the video turns up loads of results that are reporting the story as news (and about an equal number reporting it as fake), the video claims a google search will not find the story, maybe it didn't when the video was made, but the video is _now_ demonstrably false itself.

At the end of the day whether you use Google, Snopes or Upworthy for fact checking, you are still trusting someone else to curate your news and therefore are subject to their biases and agendas.

Comment Re:Good film except for one thing (soilers inside) (Score 2) 102

> I mean the sky is the limit when you can see the future.

I would think lack of free will was the more pressing limit...

> Who in their right mind would choose this existence!?!

Someone who didn't have a choice, because they already knew what they would do?

[haven't seen the movie, not sure if I will or not, maybe that's the point...]

Comment Re:This is interesting (Score 1) 711

Could be lots of reasons why, mostly centered on the fact that being in the EU locks you into a pro-capitalist neo-con system which constrains democratically elected nominally socialist governments to merely tinkering ineffectually round the edges of policy - look at Greece for a start.

There was actually a left-exit campaign, . You may never have heard of it because it got very little media attention (odd that...), but just googling for "Lexit" will find stuff, there's even a movie on youtube (it's a bit long to call it an advert, bits of it are in fact quite well done and it's a credit to its producers given the miniscule budget).

Many left wingers have always wanted to leave the EU - the late Tony Benn was once the rallying point for them. Some prominent left wingers who were historically pro-brexit did major u-turns as it became clear it might actually be a winner - not just Corbyn and McConnell at the top of the Labour party but also prominent journalists like Owen Jones. For many, I have no doubt these u-turns were suspicious. The official remain campaign reason for these damascene conversions is that "the EU protects workers' rights", and, er, that's about it, and it doesn't stand up to even cursory examination - where were the EU when Thatcher was abolishing workers' rights, why is the EU forcing countries to introduce thatcherite anti-union laws, why are the workers striking in France against a socialist government that is threatening workers' rights _because_ the EU told them too, if the EU protects? Try for more.

I am Not (normally) a lefty, but I can see how a lefty would have voted out - there was precious little in the official remain campaign for them, that was all based on how big international business, bankers and London would be much better off if we stayed in, with the usual implication that some of that would "trickle down" to the plebs, just as it failed to do before. I think a lot of left-leaning voters just didn't buy it, I don't think Leave _won_ the vote (both left wing and in general) I think Remain lost it - with one of the most patronising arrogant and misleading campaigns I've ever seen (at that point, obviously there's the Trump and Clinton campaigns since...).

Comment Re:Email Threading and DeDupe (Score 1) 488

It used to have single instance storage but doesn't anymore, in 2007 it was dropped except for attachments, 2010 got rid of it entirely. Allegedly they tuned the IO of the DB engine and reduced it by more than half overall, but SIS was one of the casualties of that (you got much reduced IO at a cost of more storage space required - pretty reasonable tradeoff with storage volume getting cheaper).

However I don't think they will be using an email server to do the work. Possibly an EDRM, which as GP says usually have dedupe built in, or dedicated analysis tools.

Threading is also key - most email tools default to including quoted original text in each reply (in various ways, top posting seems most common now). That means most text in most emails is text you already have in another email, you either only need to review the new text in each email (vastly reducing the total text volume) or you only need to review the last email in the thread (vastly reducing the number of emails). This is where it all gets trickier and the tools will vary, end result is the same though, much less to analyse than first numbers suggest.


Comment Re:GPL (Score 1) 176

I thought the GPL (v2 at least) was explicitly not a usage license, but a distribution one.

And GPLv3 also, although arguably less clearly:

> You may make, run and propagate covered works that you do not convey, without conditions

I'd think if you used the GPL code and linked to it, but never distributed the GPL library it wouldn't be able to kick in.

I believe that installers that download from third parties are designed to explicitly get around this even.

Correct, BUT the FSF regards the "designed to explicitly get around this" (or "user does the link") bit as contributory infringement / subterfuge. AFAIK that remains a theory that has never been tested in court, nevertheless, if I were going to do that I would want to be as non-explicit about it as possible. Of course, building separate install packages (+ dependency system) for common libraries so users only have to download what they haven't already got is designed to do just that - not to end run around the GPL...

Comment Re:GPL (Score 1) 176

You're conflating two issues - copyright over the API, which has been widely presumed not to exist until recently, and copyright over the library the API provides access to.

You're forgetting that in the case of dynamically linked libraries and the GPL, the two issues become the same thing. An executable using dynamic linking contains no code from a linked library to make it a derived work other than the API (and in the case of discoverable interfaces not even that - MS OLE for instance), and it may link with _any_ library that provides the same API. The only point at which a derived work is arguably created is at runtime, under the control of the user, at which point the GPL explicitly disclaims all control or restriction.

Any claim (IMO) that the GPL restricts dynamically linked libraries essentially reduces to an API copyright claim.

Example: a patch (not an executable or a source distribution, a patch) that simply modified a few function calls in an open source (but not GPL program) to give said program the _option_ of linking to a GPL library was held by rms/FSF to be a GPL violation. No executable was ever distributed, no source distribution included GPL code, just the function names and calling conventions that happened to be used in a GPL library - what is that if not the API?

I can't think of any instances offhand where an open source project has objected to anyone re-implementing a library by cloning the API. They have however very often objected to closed-source projects actually linking/including their library. Basically - clone the API if you like, but if you use any of the actual code, either by inking or cut-n-paste, then you'd better adhere to the license.

Use the same function names and calling conventions as a GPL library in your code and get told your code is must be under the GPL as a result. Actually cloning the library can get you round that by allowing you to claim that there are multiple implementations of the same API so the GPL one cannot therefore claim sole copyright on the API, even if some implementations are so dysfunctional no sane person would use them. Of course "getting round" the GPL attracts objections from some quarters...

[Aside: Open-source clones-of / replacements-for GPL programs have also attracted objections simply on the basis that one undermines the GPL-world by replicating bits of it outside the GPL - see rms on clang / LLVM vs gcc, for instance.]

All this was discussed to death (notably on gnu.misc.discuss) some time last century, and for all I know is still discussed there today - I gave up following it long ago, concluding that the GPL basically works for what it was designed for, i.e. statically-linked C executables on unix. Outside of that it always breaks, sometimes in subtle and interesting ways.

Comment Re:everything is an offshoot of F&SF (Score 1) 252

Science fiction explicitly includes some plausible technology not in existence at the time of writing and not known by the author to be impossible; and that technology is necessary to some aspect of the plot. (Alternately, the story may take place under substantially different physical conditions [an alien planet] and those conditions are relevant to the plot.) (A rarer alternative to this posits the absence of a present technology and plays with the consequences of that absence.)

This is made clearer by considering stories set far in the future. The characters don't actually exist, but that by itself doesn't make those stories science fiction.

Fantasy has elements known to be impossible within the context of current knowledge. Magic and the power of wishing are fantasy.

So who was it who said "Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic" - a SciFi author or a Fantasy author ?

Which genre is, just for one example, Dr Who - the technology central to the plot being known to be impossible within the context of current knowledge?

Comment Re:Literary Awards Use Literary Rules... (Score 1) 252

No mention of Iain M. Banks.

Did you mean Iain Banks the great writer who made the Time's list of top 50 British post-war writers ( ) or Iain _M_ Banks the SciFi writer who never got acknowledged outside of SciFi awards?

[ Yes I do know. Proves the article's point really - best way for great SciFi writers to get recognised seems to be to write "mainstream" fiction under another name... ]

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